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Martha 3, Deane
ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
UNFAMILIAR ASPECTS OF FAMILIAR MEN
A Study Course
Boys and Young Men
B. Deane Brink
Director of Special Activities, Department of Recreation
and Health, Young Men's Christiaii Association,
Pastor Daniel Dorchester Memorial
Methodist Episcopal Church
New York: 124 East 28th Street
London: 47 Paternoster Row, E. C.
Copyright, 1914, by the
International Committee of Young Men's
DR. GEORGE J. FISHER
IN RECOGNITION OF THOSE
QUALITIES OF BODY, MiND
AND Spirit that make him
AN IDEAL Teacher and
Leader of Men, what-
ever IS worthy IN THIS
BOOK IS dedicated
It is sometimes said that there are Bibles
within the Bible — a Bible for youth, a Bible for
age, a Bible for the sick, a Bible for the well —
in truth, a Bible suited to the various periods
and moods of life. All this is another proof of
the universality of the Great Book. Springing
from all kinds of life, as it surely does, it comes
back again to all kinds of life with its peculiarly
And surely we do not read far in the holy
pages without discovering that there is a boy's
Bible within the big Bible. Each of us can recall
the stories that made their appeals to us in our
boyhood. We were fond of Moses, of Joseph, of
Daniel, of Samuel, and of that anonymous lad
who helped Jesus with the miracle of the loaves
and fishes. These serve as illustrations of the
fact that the nature of a boy will select a Bible
from the Bible. Other portions of the record
wait until the youth arrives at maturity, while
still others wait to comfort him in his old age.
Now this book is an effort to make more real
and helpful certain portions of the Bible, that
the life of boyhood may be more effectively
served. Any man who receives letters from his
son knows well what is his boy's chief inter-
est at a particular period. Those na'ive epistles
brim with the news of recent athletic contests.
When he is at home, the father sees the boy
eagerly scanning the pages of the morning paper
to find the result of the games. To the seeing
parent all this is an indication of the form of
appeal that may best be made to the boy's heart.
The wise father and the wise teacher will not
fail to see the point.
This volume takes advantage both of the
nature of the boy and of the nature of the Bible,
to bring the boy and the Bible into company with
each other. It introduces the boy to those
worthies that walk the sacred pages as a kind of
holy athletic field. Its aim is to make the Bible
properly human and to make athletics properly
religious, while, at the same time, appealing to
the boy in the natural and God-ordained fashion
of his nature. We may be sure that it can have
no other effect than to lure youth from fields of
physical contest on to the place where they can
wrestle against the rulers of the world-darkness,
so passing from that bodily exercise which profits
a little to that spiritual exercise which has the
promise for both great worlds.
Edwin H. Hughes.
Resident Bishop M. E. Church,
San Francisco, Cal.
Several years ago it was suggested to a group
of boys in a high school gymnasium class that
they ought to take up the study of the Bible.
The proposition met with cynical indifference.
It was then suggested that they might like to
know about an ancient runner who surpassed
any Marathon record of modern times, beating
a king and his chariot in a race over a rough
mountain road in the midst of a blinding storm.
The interest of the boys was captured, and in
this form they began to study the biography of
Elijah. A class on "The Athletes of the Bible"
was formed and still continues as a Bible study
The course of studies thus begun has since
been used in other groups with equal success.
It presents the men of the Bible from a view-
point which will capture the boys and young
men. A teacher cannot have a better point of
contact than the boy's athletic interest.
The object of these studies is to show to the
boys that the men of the Bible are virile and
their lives are full of stirring interest. The
Bible is an out-of-doors book. Its people lived
mostly in the out-of-doors. Their physical
prowess is noteworthy. Their physical achieve-
ments equal, if they do not surpass, those of
modern times. Moreover, Christianity should be
taught as a religion of health and vigor, which
expects, by Christ's help, a man's maximum
physically, mentally and spiritually.
The lessons are designed to be elastic in the
time required for teaching. They will fit a
longer or a shorter session. Perhaps the best
results will be secured by adapting the material
under each Roman numeral to a twenty-minute
It is hoped that teachers of boys' and young
men's classes in Bible schools and in the Young
Men's Christian Association will find in these
studies a corrective for the prevailing miscon-
ception among boys and young men that religion
is "sissified," that Jesus was effeminate, and
that a real "man" has a more virile business than
to serve the Kingdom and the Church. With
this great mission, the book is prayerfully sent
on its way.
B. Deane Brink.
Boston, Mass., May 1, 1914.
DAVID, The Stone Thrower: Control
I. The Athlete.
II. His Training.
III. The Event.
ELIJAH, The Long Distance Runner: Endurance.
IV. An Out-of-doors Man.
V. The Marathon.
VI. The Endurance Walk.
SAMSON, The Weight Lifter: Strength.
VII. A Man with a Big Chance.
VIII. The Tragedy of Wasted Strength.
PETER, The Oarsman: Leadership.
IX. The Oarsman.
X. The Leader.
PAUL, The Swimmer and Sailor: Pluck.
XI. Paul's Athletic Sympathies.
XII. Some of Paul's Plucky Achievements.
JESUS, The Perfectly Balanced Personality: Bal-
XIII. The Physique of Jesus.
"Connie" Mack's Views on Cigarette Smoking.
B. Deane Brink: Physiological Effects of Alcohol
George A. Bellamy: The Moral Value of Play-
Robert J. Roberts' "Talk on Training."
City Life and Character Development.
DAVID, The Stone Thrower
Study Subject: Control
Definition: Accurate obedience of the
muscles to the mind
Biblical Material: I Samuel 16, 17
'For the long breath, the deep breath, the breath of the
heart without care —
I will give thanks and adore thee, God of the open
— Henry van Dyke.
I. THE ATHLETE
1. Description of David which was taken to
the King. (I Sam. 16:18.)
(a) Skilled musician.
(b) A "mighty" man.
(c) Brave, "valiant."
(d) A fighter for good things, — "A man of
(e) "Prudent in matter" — good at head
(f) A "comely" person — attractive to look
(g) "The Lord is with him" — a man of fine
2. Boyhood Life. (I Sam. 16: 11.)
David as a young man lived a clean and
wholesome outdoor life, rightly combining
work and play, responsibility and freedom,
which will always produce an athletic type
3. David must have been a Man of Large and
(a) Saul, who was "higher than any of the
people from his shoulders and upward" (I
Sam. 9:2) offered him his armor, which
David "girded on." If the average Israel-
ite was five feet nine inches, Saul must
have been six feet six inches, and David
must have been over six feet tall.
4 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
(b) He wielded the giant's sword with
apparent ease. (I Sam. 17:51.)
(c) In his shepherd days he killed a "lion"
and a "bear." (I Sam. 17: 36.)
(d) His exploits in escaping Saul's efforts
to kill him would have been possible only
to a man of great endurance and superb
nerve. This story is found in I Samuel
4. Something More is Required to Produce a
Winner than Mere Muscle.
(a) In I Samuel 16:6, 7, it seems that
David's brother Eliab, from the standpoint
of "countenance" or "stature," would have
been chosen king.
(b) David was chosen king because while "a
man looketh on the outward appearance,
God looketh on the heart." David had fine
qualities of character.
(c) Often in football an end, like Poe of
Princeton, whose weight is light, far sur-
passes in effectiveness a much heavier man.
(d) Fitzgerald, one of Yale's prominent
football stars, said he never feared a dirty
player, because a dirty player never had
enough ability to depend on his own
strength, otherwise he would not need to
use dirty methods.
(e) The fellow who is dirty in athletics is
very apt in later life to be shady in his
DAVID: CONTROL 5
5. Besides being Physically Strong, David
had Other AccompUshments. He was
an All-Round Man.
(a) He played the harp. (I Sam. 16: 16-17.)
(b) He sang.
(c) He wrote poetry. (See the Psalms.)
(d) He had time for fine friendships, like
that of Jonathan. (I Sam. 18: 1.)
Questions for Discussion
1. What is an athlete?
2. What seven characteristics of an ideal ath-
lete are mentioned in the description of David?
(I Sam. 16:18.)
3. Find evidence in the story of David's life
that proves that he was a man of powerful
physique. (I Sam. 17:36-39 and 51.)
4. What qualities other than muscle are re-
quired to produce a successful athlete?
5. Name other accomplishments beside that
of athletic ability which tend to make David an
example to young manhood.
6. Can a successful athlete also be a Chris-
1. The Value of Play.
David practised stone throwing while he
tended his sheep. This was his play. Relax-
ation is necessary. "All work and no play
makes Jack a dull boy."
2. Physically Helpful Diversion.
David found his relaxation and diversion in
the right way. Many fail at this point. He
made his play build up his body, not tear it
down. If he had found his relaxation in his
preparatory period in cigarette smoking, for
example, he would have permanently weak-
ened his eyesight, decreased his lung capa-
city, and impaired his control. He never
could have killed Goliath if he had not been
able to obtain absolute accuracy in stone
throwing. (See "Connie" Mack on cigarette
smoking, in Appendix.)
His form of sport also developed his physical
powers of self-defense, as do boxing, jiu-
jitsu, or wrestling. He could take care of
himself under any and all circumstances.
David, however, though strong, was not of
a combative nature.
4. The Object of Athletics.
All through his boyhood he kept training
8 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
rules. This long, slow preparation alone
could fit him for his unexpected opportunity.
Athletics should always be regarded as fitting
for life's later tasks, not merely as an expe-
dient for winning games or medals.
5. The Need of the Early Start.
Champion baseball players are not produced
in a moment. Their championship skill is
built on the training they received in boy-
hood, as they played baseball in the back
lots. A substitute pitcher on a major league
team, a boiler-maker who had just fallen
short of the Mathewson class, laid his
heartbreaking failure to his late start.
6. The Physical Basis.
The foundation of David's success was
largely physical. Lack of training during
the boyhood period may condemn a man to
physical inferiority and to ill health for life.
Physical stamina is well-nigh indispensable to
successful life work. While many physical
weaklings have done great things, the vigor-
ous man has a great advantage over the
sickly man. Mr. Roosevelt, the sickly boy
who became an athletic man, is a good illus-
tration of what can be and ought to be done.
7. More Important.
An essential part of David's training was
moral and spiritual. The self-restraint and
DAVID: CONTROL 9
the high ideals thus learned helped him de-
velop his great physique. While he was still
a boy, the report went to the king that "the
Lord is with him." The Bible, the Church,
and the Christ will greatly help the athlete.
Questions for Discussion
1. What weapon was a part of a shepherd's
2. What opportunity had David to practise an
art at which he displayed wonderful skill?
3. What were the physical effects of David's
4. What is the purpose of play and athletics ?
5. How does play develop control?
6. What is the fault of the delayed start in
7. How important are physical strength and
8. What beside exercise was an essential
part in David's training?
9. How does Christianity help in the making
of a successful athlete?
10. To whom did David give credit for his
great physical strength ? (Psalms 18 : 33-34.)
A \ .
— <. /
III. THE EVENT
1. A Dangerous Foe.
The bully, Goliath, headed the formidable
army of Philistines which threatened
Israel's national existence. (I Sam. 17:1-
10 and 16.)
2. A National Need.
The failure at this national crisis to find any
man with skill and courage enough to meet
the challenge. (I Sam. 17: 11.)
3. The Man of the Hour.
The appearance of David on the scene, un-
suspecting the nearness of his opportunity,
but prepared for it by his long training. (I
4. No Effort at Grandstand Play.
He fought with familiar weapons, refusing
to participate in any event for which he was
not trained. He had not "proved" swords
and armor. (I Sam. 17 : 38-40.)
5. Making Good.
Superb control in the crisis. He was at his
best when his best was needed. No nervous-
ness nor stage fright. His training gave him
confidence. He threw a stone with such
perfect accuracy that it struck the small open
spot on the forehead, the only vulnerable
opening beneath the "helmet of brass."
12 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
6. Modem. Parallels in Control.
(a) Mathewson, the Giants' veteran pitcher,
in the only game won by his team in the
world series in 1913, with two men on
bases in the ninth inning, struck out two
batters and saved the day.
(b) In the season of 1913, Brickley, Har-
vard's great full-back, won the Yale-
Harvard game by his timely goal kicking.
7. The Secret of Heroism.
Part of David's success was due to his belief
in the cause for which he wanted to win.
It was God's cause. He felt he was fighting
the eternal battle between right and wrong.
He could answer Goliath: "Thou comest to
me with a sword and a spear and a shield,
but I come to thee in the name of the Lord
of Hosts." It makes a difference whether
one fights for selfish gain or for some great
unselfish object. Read "Horatius at the
8. Divine Reinforcement.
It is a simple fact of history that the man
who has God to strengthen him has been the
man who has accomplished the seemingly
impossible. The Bible speaks of one man
"chasing a thousand, and two putting ten
thousand to flight." (Deut. 32 : 30.)
Lincoln, on the night before the battle of
DAVID: CONTROL 13
Gettysburg, was conscious of the presence
of God and had an assurance of victory.
9. An Athlete's Hymn.
David, later recognizing this, sang thus of
the divine help in becoming a successful
For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my
God have I leaped over a wall.
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my
He maketh my feet like deer's feet, ....
He teacheth my hands skill with weapons, so that a
bow of steel is broken by my arms.
Questions for Discussion
1. What national crisis threatened the Israel-
itish nation in David's youth? (I Sam. 17 : 1-7.)
2. Explain the failure of the nation to pro-
duce a man to meet his emergency. (I Sam. 17 :
3. Why was David able to do what no one
else was willing to undertake? (I Sam. 17: 37.)
4. Whv did he refuse the weapons offered
him? (I Sam. 17:38-40.) What did he select
when he met the Philistine champion?
5. What part did control play in this contest?
(I Sam. 17:49.)
6. Name some modern parallels showing
similar wonderful control.
7. What is the secret of true heroism ?
ELIJAH, The Long Distance Runner
Study Subject : Endurance
Definition : The power of doing or bearing
without giving way
Biblical Material: I Kings 17-19
"We do wrong when we live beneath our privilege;
and knowing that we ought to exercise every day, we
sin when we yield to the constant, deadening habit of
sedentary life." — Frances Willard.
IV. AN OUT-OF-DOORS MAN
1. Natural Environment.
Gilead, in which is located Elijah's birthplace,
Tishbet, "was a wild mountain district, on the
eastern side of Jordan, bordering on the great
desert." This mountain range varied from
three thousand to four thousand feet in
height. Elijah always lived and loved the
out-of-doors life. "Lonely mountains and
bleak deserts were congenial to his spirit."
2. Training which Makes for Endurance.
(a) He camps in caves by the brook Cherith.
(I Kings 17:3.)
(b) He wears a mantle of rough camel's
hair. (H Kings 1:8.)
(c) He haunts the slopes of Mount Carmel.
(I Kings 18: 20.)
(d) He spends some time in a cave at
Horeb. (I Kings 19 : 9.)
(e) He sleeps under a desert broom (juniper
tree). (I Kings 19 : 5.)
(£) He has the iron frame which enables
him to endure practically a forty days'
fast. (I Kings 19:8.)
(g) So complete is his knowledge of the
country that for three years he can evade
Ahab's soldiers, so that they think his
escape is due to his "being borne hither
20 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
and thither by the spirit of Jehovah." (I
Kings 18:13; II Kings 2:16.)
(h) There is no evidence that he cared for
the cities or visited them except as he came
on business as the messenger of Jehovah,
immediately returning to his wild home on
(i) Some of these characteristics we find in
the modern Bedouin.
(J) Of Elijah, it has been said by a poet
that his father was the mountain and his
mother the desert.
(k) Living so much in solitude, Elijah must
have been highly skilled as a hunter. Pos-
sibly this is what is meant by saying the
ravens brought him meat. Only in the
drought was he forced to go to the widow
in the distant city to find food. (I Kings
3. The Modem Equivalent.
In modern life, the nearest approach we can
make to Elijah's training is fresh air, simple
food, and plenty of outdoor exercise.
'4. God in the Mountains.
A trip to the mountains is often a revelation
to the city boy. One gets a different idea of
God and of nature and of life in the silent
presence of these endless solitudes. The
mountaineer has always been an alert, sturdy
and stern type of man. Read "Trail of the
ELIJAH: ENDURANCE 21
Lonesome Pine," "Shepherd of the Hills,"
5. God in the Desert.
A man forced by illness to camp in the
desert, seeing no human face except his mes-
senger, who came every third day, said : "Out
there on the desert you can't get away from
God. The silence is so great you don't like to
hear your own voice. And after a few weeks
of it, you can't help hearing God's voice. It
is the most certain thing in the desert."
6. The Source of Bravery.
With this training, it is not strange that God
should have been the one great fact in life
to Elijah. Seeing God in his power in
nature, and understanding how much more
powerful God is than any man, King Ahab
and Queen Jezebel and the soldiers did not
frighten him much.
7. A Mistaken Idea.
In view of the foregoing, the usual idea of
the prophets, as portrayed, for instance, in
Sargent's painting, that they are effeminate,
bloodless, and weak, is a mistaken one.
8. The Moral Equivalent of War.
The Christian life has been called "the moral
equivalent of war." The strongest and most
virile qualities of life are required for
22 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
Christ-likeness. It is a pitiful mistake to
think following the Master is weak or "sis-
sified" ; the stronger the man, the better the
Questions for Discussion
1. What was the type of country in which
Elijah was born and lived??
2. What kind of training made for his great
endurance? (I Kings 17:3, 18:20, 19:5-9; II
Kings 1:8-9, 2:16.)
3. What has been the effect on the physical
life of to-day by the change from country to
4. How near can we approach Elijah's man-
ner of life under modern conditions ?
5. What effect have the vastness and soli-
tude of the mountain and desert on our religious
6. What is the source of true bravery?
V. THE MARATHON
1. The National Crisis.
(a) King Ahab married the Princess Jezebel
(b) The reHgion of Phcenicia was unspeak-
ably degraded, resuUing in evil practices,
as is the case with most Oriental religions.
(c) After his marriage, Ahab made this the
court religion instead of the pure, uplift-
ing worship of Jehovah. Jezebel imported
four hundred and fifty corrupt priests.
(d) Whether Israel should become a petty
and degraded Oriental kingdom, or the
nation should continue to be the chosen
people who eventually would give the
world Christianity, its final religion, was
the question at issue. (I Kings 16:29-
2. The Saviour of the Nation.
(a) The king had absolute power of life and
death, and for a time no one dared to
(b) Suddenly out of the mountains appeared
this mighty man Elijah, who dramatically
confronted the king and told him his sin
and brought drought and famine. (I Kings
(c) The king searched for three years at
home and in neighboring countries during
ELIJAH: ENDURANCE 25
the famine for Elijah, but could not cap-
(d) At last Elijah again confronted the
king, and arranged the great test of reli-
gion on Mount Carmel. The "fire from
heaven" may have been something like a
bolt of lightning which struck Elijah's
altar. \l Kings 18:16-39.)
(e) After it had been proved that Jehovah,
not Baal, was the true God, and all the
people had cried out, "The Lord, he is
God; the Lord, he is God," then Elijah
promised the end of the drought.
3. The Run,
(a) Elijah ordered Ahab the king to hurry-
home to Jezreel before the rain should
prevent his going. (I Kings 18 : 44-46.)
(b) He knew that the real fight against the
false religion had to be fought with Queen
Jezebel at Jezreel.
(c) So, under the inspiration of his great
battle, for "the hand of the Lord was upon
him," he set out to beat Ahab to Jezreel.
(d) The distance was sixteen miles.
(e) The speed surpassed that of the war
horses attached to the king's chariot.
(f) The run was made during a fierce storm.
The first "Marathon" was run in 490 B. C.
by a messenger bringing to Athens the news
26 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
of the decisive defeat at the village of Mara-
thon of the Persian army by the Greeks
under Miltiades. The distance was twenty-
six miles, and after delivering his message
the runner fell dead.
5. The Danger of Overdoing.
An athlete may exhibit endurance in wind
and muscle that far surpasses the capacity
of heart and kidneys. The result may be a
broken constitution, a dilated heart, a dam-
aged kidney, a life of comparative ineffi-
6. Modem Parallels.
(a) Olympic games in Athens, 1896.
James Thorpe's Records at Olympic
Running broad jump, 23 feet, 3 inches.
Javelin throw, 170 feet, 1 inch.
200-meter run, 23 seconds.
1500-meter run, 4 minutes, 44 seconds.
Discus throw, 116 feet, 9 inches.
100-yard dash, 103-5 seconds.
16-pound shot, 44 feet, 3 1-8 inches.
High jump, 6 feet, 1 1-4 inches.
H-mile walk, 4 minutes, 37 seconds.
Hammer throw, 122 feet, 10 inches.
Pole vault, 9 feet, 6 inches.
High hurdle, 16 2-5 seconds.
ELIJAH: ENDURANCE 27
56-pound weight, 26 feet, 2 inches.
Mile run, 5 minutes, 26 seconds.
7. Not a Feat of Bravado.
This Marathon of EHjah was not a mere
spectacular athletic stunt. It was a great
piece of service in an emergency. While it
might be glorious to sacrifice one's strength
or life to serve some fine cause, it is no credit
to run a Marathon only for self-pride or
display. Physical strength, like all other
talents, is given to be used for making the
world a better one.
Questions for Discussion
1. Describe the political and religious situa-
tion in Israel at the time this Marathon occurred.
2. From what you have learned of the early
life of Elijah, what sort of a man was it who
faced King Ahab and his queen?
3. How long did Elijah live an outlaw in the
4. Describe the fire test on Mount Carmel.
5. Give an account of the Marathon.
6. Name some modern parallel.
7. What are the dangers to be avoided in
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VI. THE ENDURANCE WALK
1. The Mountaineer's Defeat and Danger.
(a) The supernatural manifestations of Je-
hovah on Mount Carmel failed to impress
Queen Jezebel, who vowed vengeance
upon the enemy of her religion.
(b) She sends word to Elijah that before
another day she will have his life in return
for the lives of the slain four hundred and
fifty priests of Baal. (I Kings 19 : 1-2.)
(c) In utter discouragement, feeling he has
lost the great battle to save his nation,
Elijah begins his long flight into the wil-
derness. (I Kings 19:3-4.)
(d) His dejection reaches its climax after
he has covered nineteen miles the first day,
and he sleeps under a desert broom or
"juniper tree" (I Kings 19:5). Fatigue
lessens the power of resistance and tends
to mental depression. Temptations are
most dangerous when one is tired.
(e) At this time, he comes dangerously near
to quitting, but his grit returns in the
morning when he is physically rested, and
he feels again that God is with him.
(f) A close study of Abraham Lincoln's life
shows that his experience was like Elijah's
under the juniper tree. Repeatedly, as
before Gettysburg, he felt a distinct re-
30 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
assurance from God that there was no
need to give up, because the right would
prevail. Like Elijah, he came gradually
to understand God's ways better and to
trust him with a more complete confidence.
2. The Physical Aspects of the Endurance
(a) Extra effort to escape the danger of
Jezebel's threat carried him swiftly to
Beersheba from Jezreel.
(b) Leaving his servant, he goes along "a
day's journey" into the wilderness and
camps wherever nightfall overtakes him.
(I Kings 19:4.)
(c) Throughout his journey he sleeps in the
(d) So far as he has food, he finds it in the
wild country he is traversing. He ate very
little, so that the time is described as a
"fast." (I Kings 19:8.)
(e) The mountain climbing and the hot
desert stretches made the going so difficult
that it is doubtful if a less hardy traveler
could have survived the hardships.
(f) Calculating the distance as two hundred
and eighty miles, he must have covered an
average of from five miles to ten miles a
day for forty consecutive days.
(g) The feat is the more remarkable when
Elijah's mental depression is considered.
ELIJAH: ENDURANCE 31
3. The Purpose of the Walk. (I Kings 19:
(a) Elijah was running away from Jezebel,
the queen, although shortly before he had
successfully defied the king and his army
and the four hundred and fifty priests
armed with knives.
(b) His violent and bloody effort to save
the religion of his fathers had seemingly
failed and he wanted time to think.
(c) At Horeb, "the mount of God," he
would find safety from his enemies and
could, in the solitude, learn from God the
cause of his failure.
(d) This endurance walk was really a
search for God and his will.
(e) At the journey's end, during the storm,
when Elijah had gone from the cave
where he was camping to the "mount of
the Lord," he saw an earthquake and a
great wind and a fire, and then heard an
inner still, small voice.
(f) Elijah thus learned that while God is a
God of power. Lord of nature and of
physical strength, the appeal of the "still,
small voice" to conscience is the only way
false religion can be overthrown.
(g) Having learned his mistake, he returned,
and at last, by other and better methods
than killing four hundred and fifty men,
32 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
he succeeded in his life work of saving the
reHgion of Israel, and the sin of Ahab and
Jezebel brought them both to untimely
4. A Modem Parallel of Physical Endurance.
Mr. Weston, traversing thousands of miles
afoot each year, furnishes a remarkable
physical parallel to the endurance of Elijah.
In spite of Elijah's mistakes, God cared for
him and brought his bungling efforts to
success. It is a w^onderful teaching of the
Bible that this is true of us all — God seeks
us until we find him, and uses and overrules
even our mistakes for the largest good to
ourselves and to his kingdom.
6. Seeking God.
Every man must find God for himself. No
one else can do it for him. Sometimes this
happens in a church service, a men's meet-
ing, or in a revival ; sometimes it happens in
very early childhood. After this conversion,
when we get personally acquainted with God,
we go on finding more and more of him by
continued seeking. Elijah had his supreme
experience with God out in the woods all
by himself, and then came back to serve
him where the crowds were.
ELIJAH: ENDURANCE 33
Questions for Discussion
1. What was Elijah's physical condition when
he received the message from Queen Jezebel?
2. What was the effect of the message? (I
3. What relation does fatigue have to this
4. In what way does Lincoln's life show a
parallel to Elijah?
5. Describe some of the aspects of the
6. What made the walk a remarkable one ?
7. What was the real purpose of the walk?
8. What methods did he use after this expe-
9. What is endurance?
10, Name several parallels of endurance?
11. What truth is illustrated in the life of
SAMSON, The Weight Lifter
Study Subject: Strength
Definition: Capacity for exertion
Biblical Material: Judges 13-17
"It is a good thing to laugh, to throw the head back
and let the blood into the veins, and let the arteries
rest, so that we may store up energy." — G. Stanley Hall.
VII. A MAN WITH A BIG CHANCE
1. The Philistines.
(a) After the entrance into Canaan of the
Israelites under Joshua, they were con-
tinually fighting for their lives against the
(b) Among the most powerful and persist-
ent of these enemies were the Philistines.
(c) At Samson's birth, the Philistines had
extended their power over the territory of
the Danites, his native tribe, and over the
territory of Judah.
2. The Birth of Samson. (Judges 13.)
(a) In great national emergencies, God has
always raised up a leader for his people.
(b) In the village of Zorah, in Palestine,
lived Manoah and his wife, who were
supernaturally informed that their own son
was to be a Nazarite, one consecrated to
God from his birth, as a deliverer for
Israel. His long hair was the sign of this
consecration and his badge of office as a
Nazarite. Giving up his hair was giving
up his calling. (Verses 1-5.)
(c) Samson's prenatal influences were of
the best. His mother was careful of diet,
of drink, and of thoughts, and was an early
advocate of eugenics. (Verse 7.)
(d) He was the right sort of a boy, and "he
40 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
grew and the Lord blessed him." (Verse
3. His Tremendous Strength.
(a) He killed a young mountain lion or wild
cat barehanded. This was not an Afri-
can lion. (Judges 14:5-6.)
(b) Tied with two cords, he broke them
with ease. (Judges 15 : 13-14.)
(c) He "took the doors of the gate of the
city and the two posts and went away with
them, bar and all, and put them on his
shoulders and carried them to the top of a
hill." These gates were wooden gates, and
the total weight was between one thousand
and two thousand pounds. The hill was a
(d) He was bound with cords made of
grapevines, and he broke them "as a thread
of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire."
(e) When fastened around and around with
new ropes, he "broke them from off his
arms like a thread." (Judges 16 : 12.)
(f) His hair was woven into the web on an
oriental loom, and with a jerk of his head
he wrenched loose the fastenings, pulling
up the stake to which the loom was
attached. (Judges 16 : 14.)
(g) Standing between two uprights sup-
porting a bleacher-like porch in the court-
SAMSON: STRENGTH 41
yard of the palace, he displaced them with
a supreme effort, allowing the structure to
collapse. (Judges 16:29-30.)
4. Modem Parallels of Strength.
(a) It is a common circus stunt for men to
attach a chain to a comb which fastens in
the hair, and by a jerk of the head draw
out nails from a board.
(b) Clarence Verrill, Yale '99, as a child
was sickly and puny. Physicians agreed
that his chances of growing up were
very small. Determined, however, that
he would live, he worked out his own
cure, which was, in brief, fresh air, exer-
cises, and nourishing food, and in April,
1897, he broke all college records for
strength tests. He was an all-round ath-
lete, captain of baseball, played on football
eleven, won many track events, rowed on
the college crew, was an expert swimmer,
and was also a prominent boxer, fencer
and wrestler. Contrary to the practice of
most college athletes, he never gave up his
5. The Reason for Strength.
Health and physical power do not mean
much unless used for some spiritual purpose.
No man can hope to have as much strength
as a horse, and if there were no standard of
value other than the physical one, horses
42 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
would be worth more than men. Often the
strongest man can scarcely earn a dollar and
a half a day, and that is because he has not
learned how to use his strength. A very
healthy and vigorous man, despite his
strength, may have a bad influence on all
the community because he is bad. Strength
is to be used for service, and only then does
it become really valuable to the world. Pro-
fessionalism in sports has, through its attend-
ant evils of dishonesty and gambling, done
much to rob the world of strength and skill
which otherwise might have been utilized for
definite Christian service.
Questions for Discussion
1. What tribe continually sought to capture
the Israelitish people?
2. With reference to leaders, what providen-
tial thing always happens in great national crises ?
3. What is true of prenatal influence?
4. Tell some facts relating to Samson's birth ?
5. What is strength?
6. Cite instances of his tremendous strength.
(Judges 14:5-6; 15:13-14; 16:9; 16:12; 16:
7. Name some modern parallels of strength,
8. What is the real purpose of strength ?
VIII. THE TRAGEDY OF WASTED
. The Steps in Samson's Downfall.
(a) As a boy he was "at times moved by
the spirit of the Lord" and he gave some
promise of making good as Israel's deHv-
erer. (Judges 13: 25.)
(b) His first act of manhood, his choice of
a bride, was a mistake. Against his par-
ents' will, and in defiance of patriotic
motives, he married a girl who belonged
to the enemy, the Philistines, merely be-
cause she was physically attractive.
(c) Betrayed by his wife, he began his be-
lated fight against the Philistines, not for
patriotic principle, but for personal ven-
geance, in order to get even. (Judges 15:
(d) Leaving the pure love of his wife, he
entered upon an impure life, which quickly
brought his downfall. (Judges 16:1-21.)
(e) With his eyes put out, his strength taken
away, as a slave of the Philistines, he
again so lived as to recover his strength,
and at last, when his tormentors brought
him out to mock his helplessness, with one
final prayer for help, he wrecked the
SAMSON: STRENGTH 45
Structure, which thus became his own tomb
and that of thousands of his enemies.
(f) Despite his tragic end, Samson did much
to accomplish his purpose. In the collapse
of the building, many "heads of houses"
(g) This sad spectacle of wasted strength
and of physical and spiritual failure on
account of evil finds its parallel in every
village and city.
2. The Workers may Fail but the Work
(a) Something more than a great oppor-
tunity and great native ability are needed
to produce a national leader or a success-
ful life. Many a promising boy turns out
(b) Samson had not only physical strength;
he had cleverness, as is shown by the riddle
and the story of the foxes.
(c) What he lacked was personal goodness
and unselfish patriotism. The two usually
go together. No dissipated man ever did
a supremely great unselfish work in the
(d) Christ, in the Parable of the Talents,
which are lost if not rightly used, tells us
the story of Samson in another way.
(e) God prepared the way and gave Samson
46 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
every opportunity to deliver Israel, but
even God himself is helpless in the pres-
ence of a stubborn human will,
(f) But God carried on his work despite
Samson, and a little later, under Samuel,
Saul, and David, the Philistines were
3. The Athlete's Temptation.
Samson's physical makeup brought him
temptations which a less virile man would
never have known. A young fellow was
rebuking an older man for losing his temper.
"I control more temper when I'm angry than
you ever had," was the retort. As strength
and ability increase, so temptations increase.
I : The bigger the man, the greater his battles,
I j Christ fought three of his temptations for
' forty days. Only as we develop self-re-
straint and firm purposes is it safe to have
strength and power entrusted to us.
Questions for Discussion
1. What was the great mission Samson had
2. What was the first big mistake Samson
made? (Judges 14: 1-3.)
3. What happened when he avenged a per-
sonal grievance? (Judges 15: 11.)
4. What was the next step in Samson's
downfall? (Judges 16 : 1-21.)
SAMSON: STRENGTH 47
5. Describe Samson's tragic end. (Judges
6. Think of others who have made similar
sad spectacles of their lives.
7. What beside mere muscle is needed to
produce a national leader or a successful life?
8. What did Samson lack in his life?
9. When is God helpless?
10. Was Samson's life an utter failure?
11. What men completed his job?
PETER, The Oarsman
Study Subject: Leadership
Definition : Ability to direct
Biblical Material: Luke 5:1-7; John 21:3-7;
Mark 1:16; Mark 6:45-51
"The gymnastics that makes you hold your head up
tends to straighten your moral behavior." — Edward
IX. THE OARSMAN
1. The Fisherman.
Peter and Andrew, James and John, two sets
of brothers, were partners in the fishing busi-
ness on the Sea of Galilee for a long period
before they ever knew the Master. The Sea
of Galilee is famous for the number and
quality of its fish, and Peter probably had no
difficulty by his day's work in his boat in
earning a living for himself and wife. (Mark
2. Self-Reliance in Emergencies.
The lake is surrounded by beautiful hills
which are almost mountainous, and owing to
the great difference in the temperature of the
various elevations, violent and sudden storms
are a very frequent occurrence. The fishing
boats are often in the greatest peril. Peter as
a boy and man, under these circumstances,
must have developed great skill in handling
boats. Power boats were, of course, un-
known, and instead of steam, gasoline, or
electricity, even for the largest craft, sails
and oars were the only known means of
propulsion. (Storms are described in John
6:16-18; Mark 4:35-38.)
Professional fishermen, even today, are usu-
ally very hardy and strong in physique.
54 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
Their calling is among the most dangerous of
all. "Fishin' Jimmy" thus described other
qualities developed by fishing: "Patience,
knowledge of the interests of the fish, faith in
things unseen, skill, delicacy of touch, refusal
to be discouraged, unlimited perseverance,
conviction he has not exhausted the possi-
bilities of his art."
4. Some Biblical Passages which Show Peter
as an Oarsman.
(a) Peter and Andrew in their boats at
work. (Mark 1: 15.)
(b) Peter rowing his boat for Jesus. (Luke
(c) An exciting trip in a storm, rowing
almost all night. (Mark 6:45-51.)
(d) Swimming from his boat to the shore
to meet the Master. (John 21 : 1-8.)
5. Modern Parallels.
(a) Any day on New Fish Wharf, South
Boston, or at the docks in Gloucester,
sturdy fishermen may be met ashore from
their perilous trips, which range the Atlan-
tic from Cape Cod to Newfoundland.
These are necessarily brave men.
(b) Some of the greatest men of our day
have been enthusiastic followers of Izaak
W^'alton, such as Henry van Dyke and
PETER: LEADERSHIP 55
(c) Rowing has come to be one o£ the most
popular intercollegiate sports. To make
the crew, especially at Harvard, Yale, Co-
lumbia, or Cornell, is one of the highest
athletic honors. Ten Eyck, Courtney, and
other coaches have gained renown by their
mastery in this branch of sport.
6. The Early Disciples.
It is interesting to note that the Apostles
whom Jesus chose to introduce Christianity
to the world were mostly strong, out-of-doors
men, who had worked with their hands.
They were men who presumably were
of strong physique. To men with red blood,
Christ still makes his appeal, and such men
need him most.
Questions for Discussion.
1. Who was Peter?
2. Describe the country in which he lived.
3. Why were storms sudden and frequent in
4. Name some characteristics of fishermen.
5. Give instances of Peter's ability as an
6. Name some modern parallels of fishermen
and oarsmen. (Mark 1:16-19; Luke 5:1-7;
Mark 6 : 45-51 ; Luke 5 : 2-10.)
7. What evidence have you discovered which
proves that the early Christians were physically
56 ATHLETES OF THE EIBLE
8. Why do physically strong men need Chris-
9. Why does Christ need strong and compe-
tent men for his kingdom?
X. THE LEADER
1. Qualities of an Oarsman.
Peter's life as an oarsman on the Sea of Gali-
lee, developing physical stamina, resourceful-
ness, quickness of thought and action in an
emergency (as when a squall of wind ap-
peared), and courage in the face of frequent
danger tended to fit him for his later leader-
ship in founding organized Christianity.
2. Unpromising Material.
His development as a leader was gradual.
At first he was over-impulsive, conceited,
fickle, and very slow to learn.
(a) His over-impulsiveness appears in his
rash attack on Malchus at the time of
Jesus' arrest. (John 18 : 10-11.)
(b) His conceit is shown by his boasting.
(c) The Master pointed out his fickleness
to him. (Luke 22:31-32.)
(d) The Master rebuked him for his slow-
ness to understand. (Matt. 16: 23.)
3. Leaders must be developed.
Even Jesus could not find leaders ready-
made; he took the material at hand, recog-
nizing undeveloped qualities of leadership in
his followers ; he trained them for responsi-
bility. When first he met Peter, he predicted
PETER: LEADERSHIP 59
Peter would be a rock-like leader. (John 1 :
42.) In the church, the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association, in athletics, in politics, and
wherever direction is required, the necessary-
leadership must come by a similar method.
The world is looking for competent leader-
ship, but it comes by developing the qualities
of those already engaged in a given subject.
4. Everybody has a Chance.
The ambition to be a leader is wholly com-
mendable. It is perfectly right for a player
to wish to captain the team if he believes he
has the ability to do so. No man has a right
to seek to be a leader unless he feels he can
deliver the goods. The safest rule is to let
the other fellows judge who is the man best
fitted to lead. If a man has qualities for
leadership, they will surely be recognized
without his pushing himself for office. Hu-
mility is a sure sign of greatness. James and
John and their mother were sharply rebuked
for place-hunting of a selfish sort, which is
always despicable. (Matt. 20 : 20-21.)
5. Some Biblical Descriptions of Peter's
(a) He was usually the spokesman for the
other disciples. (Matt. 16:16.)
(b) He was the skipper of the fishing vessel.
(c) Probably he was in command of the
60 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
vessel which crossed the lake in the storm.
(d) After the crucifixion, he led the dis-
ciples back to their fishing. (John 21 : 3.)
(e) He took the leadership of the church at
Pentecost, and with Paul was its chief
leader until his death, when he was cruci-
fied head downward.
(f) His leadership did not end with his
death. His second letter to the church,
which is preserved in our Bible, is a sort
of will by which he endeavors that after
his death they may be able to keep these
things always in remembrance. (H Peter
6. A Big Question.
Every leader, whether boy or king, must
decide whether he will seek his own advan-
tage or whether he will serve unselfishly
those whom he leads. A preacher may be
selfish, or he may pour out his life for his
people. A political leader may look for the
main chance, or he may really try to do the
best thing for those who elected him. All
leaders face this question. Christ, the
supreme leader, had no thought of himself,
but gave his life for all the world.
Questions for Discussion
1. What things happening in his daily work
fitted Peter to become a great leader?
PETER: LEADERSHIP 61
2. What were his outstanding faults? Are
they yours? (John 18:10-11; Mark 14:29;
Luke 22:31-32; Matt. 16:23.)
3. Cite an instance of his great weaknesses.
(Mark 14 : 29 ; John 18 : 10-11.)
4. Are leaders ready-made or must they
5. How are leaders developed?
6. Give instances of Peter's ability as a
leader. (Matt. 16:16; Luke 5:3; John 6 : 17-
31; John 21 : 3 ; II Peter 3:1.)
7. What big question must every leader face ?
PAUL, The Sailor and Swimmer
Study Subject: Pluck
Definition : Perseverance or gameness under
Biblical Material : Acts 37:26; II Corinthians
11 : 23-33
"Get health. No labor, pains or exercise that can
gain it must be grudged." — Emerson.
XI. PAUL'S ATHLETIC SYMPATHIES
L The Influence of Boyhood Scenes — Sailors,
Soldiers and Gymnastics.
(a) Paul was born in Tarsus, a seaport city
of great importance, with a world-wide
commerce. As a boy visiting the water-
front, he saw ships and met sailors from
all parts of the then known world. Thus
he came to know and love the active life
of the seafaring man.
(b) While there was no garrison of Roman
soldiers at Tarsus, Paul as a Roman must
early have come in contact with the Roman
soldiery. He repeatedly refers to soldiers,
weapons, and events of the hand-to-hand
warfare which was the only kind known to
his age. These soldiers were necessarily
athletic. They had to be men of muscle
and physical strength. Paul knew and
liked their outdoor life.
(c) The gymnasium was a conspicuous fea-
ture of the life of his time. The first pub-
lic or municipal gymnasium was located at
Tarsus. Gladiatorial contests, which were
not always bloody, were the national sport,
like baseball to-day. Running, quoit
throwing, wrestling, and boxing were
popular games. The people generally
lived an outdoor life, and to the Greeks,
physical development was as important as
68 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
is schooling in the thought of our age.
Nothing could be "good" which was not
"beautiful" to the eye. They worshiped
symmetry of body as they worshiped
symmetry of architecture. Paul was edu-
cated in this atmosphere.
2. Paul Probably did not have a Rugged
We have no way of knowing about Paul's
own physique. His exploits would indicate
he must have had much endurance. Some
think his "thorn in the flesh" (II Cor. 12 : 7)
was a physical ailment which humiliated him.
There is at least one mention in his letters of
a painful sickness. (Gal. 4: 13.)
3. Pluck Does not Depend on Muscle.
One story about Paul, which may or may
not be true, is that he was small, baldheaded,
knock-kneed, and not very attractive to look
at. If so, he is an example of how a man
with an insignificant body can still have a
courageous soul. Many men have the spirit
of football players without having sufficient
muscle to do much at the game. Pluck does
not necessarily depend on muscle.
4. Sometimes the Small Man Triumphs.
Pluck, it will thus be seen, is as much a
matter of the spirit as of the body. The
smaller boy often has the most pluck. The
PAUL: PLUCK 69
bully frequently goes down before a man
half his size. What really counts is a man's
nerve. Napoleon, John Wesley, and many
of the world's greatest men have been small
5. His Athletic Interest.
While Paul probably performed his athletic
feats by sheer pluck, and while he had not the
physique of the athlete, it is noticeable he
loved strength in other men and sympathized
with athletic development. Thus many a col-
lege student who would be happy to play on
the teams is forced to play the game from the
side lines. The man of intellectual and spir-
itual strength should not sneer at physical
power simply because it is denied him.
6. Some Bible Verses w^hich Show Paul's
(a) Running and fighting. (I Cor. 9:25-
(b) Fighting the good fight. (I Tim. 6:
(c) A runner finishing the course. (II Tim.
(d) The bleachers. (Hebr&ws 12 : 1.)
(e) The armor and weapons of a Roman
soldier. (Eph. 6:11-15.)
(f) Strength. (Eph. 6:10.)
(g) The Greek games — wrestling. (Eph.
70 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
7. The Modern Church Shares Paul's Ath-
This sympathy with physical development,
found throughout the Bible, is repeated in
much of the religious thought of our own
time. It is now no uncommon thing to see
an athletic minister. "Billy" Sunday once
played baseball on the Chicago Nationals.
Bishop Hughes is an expert tennis player.
Many boys' clubs, Sunday school classes,
brotherhoods, and other church organizations
have baseball or basket ball teams. The
Young Men's Christian Association, through
its gymnasia and athletics, is everywhere
preaching a gospel of health and physical
development. The triangular badge of the
Association stands for symmetrical develop-
ment of body, mind, and spirit.
Questions for Discussion
1. What was Paul's early environment?
2. Where was the first public gymnasium
3. Does pluck depend upon muscle?
4. Upon what beside muscle does pluck
5. Name some world characters who were
small in stature or physically weak.
6. Give instances of Paul's athletic sym-
pathies. (I Cor. 9:23-27; I Tim. 6: 12; II Tim.
4:7; Heb. 12:1; Eph. 6 : 11-18, 6:10.)
7. How does the modern church show its
interest in the physical welfare of humanity?
XII. SOME OF PAUL'S PLUCKY
1. An Impromptu Captain.
Having learned much about the sea as a boy,
he practically took command of his ship in
the great storm which wrecked it, because he
was the one best fitted to bring hope and
safety out of the panic. He swam ashore
after the wreck, possibly by aid of a spar.
2. Other Shipwrecks.
(a) At one time after being shipwrecked he
was in the water a day and a night. Only
a plucky swimmer could have survived.
(H Cor. 11:25.)
(b) In all, he was shipwrecked four times at
least, but still continued a fearless traveler
in his great work of bringing Christianity
for the first time to Europe.
Knowing his life was in greatest danger, he
nevertheless went up to Jerusalem, where he
was attacked by an angry mob, dragged out
of the Temple, and beaten almost to death.
He was fortunately rescued by the Roman
soldiers when well-nigh unconscious. Never-
theless, he insisted, bloody and bruised as he
was, on facing the mob from the stairs and
PAUL: PLUCK 73
preached to them until their screeches of
rage drowned his voice. Nothing daunted,
he tried next day to preach to the Jewish
ofificials, and later when he could have been
set free by remaining silent, again he refused
liberty and appealed to Nero, remaining
under arrest so that he could get to Rome,
where he preached also. (Acts 23-37.)
At Lystra, after Paul was stoned into uncon-
sciousness, so the people thought he was
dead, they threw his body outside the city
gate. When he regained consciousness,
with his followers he went immediately back
into the city and stayed till next day. (Acts
At Philippi, when Paul and Silas were put
in prison and forced to sit all night with feet
in stocks, instead of being discouraged, they
sang and prayed. (Acts 16 : 25.)
Five times Paul w^as flogged with thirty-nine
lashes. Besides this, he was "beaten with
rods" three times. (II Cor. 11 : 24, 25.) His
body must have been covered with scars.
Perhaps he called these "the marks of the
Lord Jesus" for whose sake he endured all
74 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
He was betrayed by false friends, robbed in
the wilderness, often hungry, often cold,
sometimes ragged and shivering, often "in
weariness and painfulness," yet nothing
could stop this grand hero, who was so
anxious to spread Christianity that he per-
severed until, when he had "finished the
course," he was beheaded by order of Nero
in the Appian Way at Rome.
8. Livingstone a Modem Paul.
The nearest approach to the pluck of Paul
anywhere found in the modern world is the
courage of David Livingstone, whose life-
story every boy who loves bravery should
9. The Yellow Streak Dooms the Athlete.
Pluck or gameness or nerve, shown in Paul's
life as part of his Christian character, is an
essential quality of the successful athlete.
Strength, control, physical endurance, are all
in vain if a man has the spirit of a quitter.
10. The Spiritual Value of Pluck.
Perhaps the greatest value of athletics is in
giving a man a plucky spirit to fight through
his life work, making him unafraid to oppose
evil and manfully "fight the good fight."
PAUL: PLUCK 75
Questions for Discussion
1. Cite two instances of Paul's pluck, bravery,
and skill as a sailor and swimmer. (Acts 27;
II Cor. 11:25.)
2. Give an account of his plucky achieve-
ments in Acts 22-27, 14: 19, 16 : 25 ; II Cor. 11 :
3. In what way does the life of David Living-
stone offer a splendid parallel?
4. How important is pluck in the makeup of
5. What is the spiritual value of pluck?
JESUS, The Perfectly Balanced Personality
Study Subject: Balance
Definition: Combination of the strong qualities
of personality so that each has its right pro-
portion and none is overdeveloped.
Biblical Material: Matthew 23:1-33, 10:38,
Mark 1 : 34-35, 3 : 15-20 ;
Luke 2 : 52, 4 : 28-30, 4 : 8-12, 19 : 45-46 ;
John 11 : 35, 12 : 3, 18 : 6, 18 : 33, 19 : 17.
"There are conditions for each individual under
which he can do the most and best work. It is his
business to ascertain those conditions and to comply
with them." — Luther H. Gulick.
XIII. THE PHYSIQUE OF JESUS
1. There is no authentic information about
Jesus' physical appearance. The artists' pic-
tures of his face and form are based on a
superstitious story which comes from early
ages concerning the miraculous appearance
of his likeness on a handkerchief. The world
HQuld^ ay any price for _a..genuine picture of
2. We can be perfectly sure that whatever his
body may have been like, his personality was
not effeminate,- On the contrary, he was the
most vigorous, brave, and masculine char-
acter of all history. Single-handed he started
a revolution against the most powerful men
of his day, who at last killed him but could
not conquer him.
3. Reasons for Thinking He had a Strong
(a) The story of his life, told by the physi-
cian Luke, speaks of his "growth in wis-
dom and stature and in favor with God
and man." (Luke 2 : 52.)
(b) He worked for many years as a car-
penter and woodworker. Later, when he
came to be a preacher, he often used illus-
trations drawn from his carpenter days ;
as, "the green wood and dry" and the
"house built on a sure foundation."
82 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
(c) In those days of rough poverty for all
classes of people except the nobles and
soldiers, coarse food and heavy work v^ere
the rule of all the common people.
(d) There is nowhere in the gospels any
hint of weakness or physical peculiarity
such as we see in Paul's life.
(e) During the years of his public ministry,
his days and nights were filled with taxing
and continuous work of teaching and heal-
ing. Under the strain of his struggle with
the Sadducees and Pharisees, no one could
have survived such hardships without
(f) He lived out of doors, preaching and
teaching and healing, mostly by the road-
side and in the open fields. Traveling
hundreds of miles, he never used a con-
veyance, but went with his disciples on
foot, from Galilee through Samaria to
Jerusalem, back and forth many times.
He was at home alike on the water, on the
road, and at his workbench.
Events which would Indicate a Command-
ing Personal Presence.
(a) In his first sermon in his own town, the
people were so angered by his denunciation
that like a mob they rushed him to the top
of the precipice, intending to throw him
JESUS: BALANCE 83
over, but he "passing through the midst
of them went his way." (Luke 4 : 28-30.)
(b) Repeatedly he braved the wrath of the
Pharisees, denouncing them face to face,
but they never dared to attack him openly.
(c) He thrashed a mob and single-handed
drove the money-changers with a whip
from the Temple. (John 2: 15-16.)
(d) When the soldiers and the Jews came
to arrest him in the garden, they fell to the
ground in fear of him. (John 18 : 6.)
(e) Pilate came to be almost afraid of him
during the trial. (John 18:33-19:16.)
(f) After the trial, despite all his fatigue,
loss of sleep, and his many wounds, he
carried the heavy cross for a considerable
distance. (John 19: 17.)
Studying thus the life of Jesus, we see how
mistaken were the men who thought their
bodies were wholly evil, so that they went
into monasteries and beat themselves with
whips and "humiliated the flesh," Jesus had
a healthy out-of-door interest in life, loved
to eat and drink and be happy, and doubtless
had a muscular right arm of which he was
proud. The man who thinks it is holy to
have a weak body never learned the idea
84 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
Questions for Discussion
1. Give proofs that Jesus had a powerful
2. Name several events which prove his com-
3. From your study of Jesus, what was his
opinion of the desirability of a clean, strong body
' ' '.
The three aspects of human Hfe requiring
balanced development are body, mind, and
The Symmetrical Christ.
In Jesus, body, mind, and soul were devel-
oped in perfect proportion. He is the ideal
man, sent by God to show us what we should
be hke. He is the finest example of sym-
metrical all-round personality the world has
It is for this reason that men of such very
different types turn to Jesus. Teachers find
him the ideal teacher. Preachers find him
the ideal preacher. Artists wish they could
see nature with his eyes. Workmen see how
he made toil sacred. The ordinary man who
believes God meant we should be strong in
body and mind and soul turns to Jesus for
Illustration : "Pa" Roberts, for forty years a
great influence in the Boston Young Men's
Christian Association, speaking of the unbal-
anced life, used to say "an egg will not roll
nearly as far as a ball, because it is not well
JESUS: BALANCE 87
4. The Healer.
Jesus' idea about the importance of a strong
and healthful body may be learned from the
fact that much of his time was spent in cor-
recting deformities and curing various kinds
of diseases. (Mark 1:34.)
Modern physiology bears this out in showing
us that sound vital organs, supplied by rich,
red blood, are necessary to normal life.
6. The Superiority of Soul.
Yet a strong body, unless it is governed by a
developed mind, and unless it is used for
some fine moral purpose, has little value.
Few athletes would wish to be like that type
of lumber-jack who is illiterate and dissi-
pated, despite his magnificent physical devel-
opment. An uncontrolled strength is worse
than weakness. Indeed, however important
physical development may seem to the ath-
lete, Jesus teaches that the development of
the mind and soul is far more important. He
said one day, "Fear not them who are able
to kill the body, but are not able to kill the
soul." (Matt. 10:28.)
7. Some Striking Qualities.
It is not surprising, therefore, that it is in the
balance of mental and spiritual qualities that
the world has learned its richest lessons from
ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
(a) He was joyful without being frivolous
or indifferent. Dr. Fosdick points out
that the only two times Jesus ever
bothered to explain his conduct were
when he was accused of being too happy.
(Mark 2:15-20.) Yet he wept at
Lazarus' death. (John 11:35.)
(b) He could be indignant without losing
his temper. He denounced Scribes and
Pharisees for their sins against widows
and orphans (Matt. 23: 14), but would
not say a word in his own behalf to
Pilate (John 18:36).
(c) He loved companionship, and his
chief pleasure was in his close friend-
ships (John 12:2), yet he demanded
time for solitude and prayer ( Mark 1 :
(d) He was progressive, breaking many
sacred traditions, like eating with his
unwashed hands, doing good on Sunday,
and eating all kinds of meat — yet he
was careful and conservative, coming
"not to destroy but to fulfill the law and
the prophets." (Matt. 5 : 17.)
(e) He was absolutely fearless, even in
the face of pain, poverty, misunder-
standing, and death, yet he would do
nothing for mere bravado and self-inter-
est. (Luke 4:8-12.)
JESUS: BALANCE 89
8. A Modern Example.
Abraham Lincoln, who for years studied the
life of Jesus and tried to be like him, is a
fine modern example of balance. Trained in
the woods, even after he became President
he astonished the nation by his marvelous
feats of strength. Mentally he was one of
the most highly developed men America has
produced, and much of his education he dug
out of books for himself. He was a great
student of the Bible. Spiritually, he has
often been compared to the Master.
9. The Most Needed Characteristic.
It is this quality of balance, perhaps, which
we should most seek. Muscle without mind
and soul is mere brute strength. Mind with-
out health, or without spiritual restraint, is
handicapped and may be dangerous. Spirit-
ual zeal without education and normal physi-
cal life is likely to be fanatical and one-
sided and cranky. Perfect manhood — the
Jesus kind — is symmetrically developed.
Questions for Discussion
1. What is balance ?
2. Why is Jesus the finest example of balance
or symmetrical personality the world has ever
3. What proofs have we that Jesus consid-
ered a strong and healthy body important ?
90 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
4. How does modern physiology bear this
5. Show the need of a balanced life,
6. From the following, point out the qualities
by which the world has learned its richest lessons
in balance: Mark 2:15-20; John 18:36; Matt.
23 : 13-23 : John 9 : 10 ; John 12 : 2 ; Mark 1 : 35 ;
Matt. 5:17; Luke 11:8-12.
7. Give a fine modern example of balance.
8. Why should we seek the balanced life?
"CONNIE" MACK'S VIEWS ON CIGARETTE
Dear Sir :
Yours of January 1 received, and in reply will
say that there is very little cigarette smoking
among our baseball boys. We do everything in
our power to discourage the use of cigarettes,
knowing the great harm it has done to those
who have been in the habit of using them.
We find that those players who do smoke
never amount to a great deal in the profession,
and I would say that this goes for all profes-
sions. It is my candid opinion, and I have
watched very closely the last dozen years or
more, that boys at the age of ten to fifteen who
have continued smoking cigarettes do not as a
rule amount to anything. They are unfitted in
every way for any kind of work where brains
are needed. Players, for instance, who should
otherwise have continued in the game until they
were at the age of thirty or thirty-five, have had
to be let out years before their time, as the
poisonous cigarettes getting into their system
have unnerved and weakened them so that they
were utterly unfit for the duty that they had to
No boy or man can expect to succeed in this
world to a high position and continue the use
94 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
After all, it is only a habit, and every one
should have will power enough to overcome such
a habit. There are many other ways that one
can enjoy himself without the ruination of
health, and this cannot be done if cigarette
smoking is continued.
Yours very truly,
The above letter from "Connie" Mack, man-
ager of the Pennant Winners in the American
League, shows what a practical and successful
general knows about cigarettes.
THE PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF
ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO
B. Deane Brink
Investigation shows that alcohol tends to para-
lyze, retard, and disturb the central brain func-
tions. Experiments in calculation, typesetting,
and memorizing show an increased number of
A prominent physician, the examiner for a
life insurance company, had this experience. *T
passed as unusually good risks five Germans —
young business men — who seemed in the best of
health and to have superb constitutions. In a
few years I was amazed to see the whole five
drop off, one after another, with what ought to
be mild and easily curable diseases. On compar-
ing my experience with that of other physicians,
I found they were all having similar luck with
confirmed beer drinkers, and my practice since
has heaped confirmation upon confirmation." —
Quoted from Barker's "Saloon Problem and
Insanity, nervous diseases, and a long list of
physical ills are directly traceable to the use of
beer and other alcoholic liquors. Get the book
quoted above and read further into this social
evil, which is rightly called "the great American
The superintendent of the Milwaukee poor-
house said that the saloons are responsible for
more than two-thirds of Milwaukee's county
Men about to commit a crime first drink
heavily. This was true of the assassins of Lin-
coln, Three of the conspirators were common
drunkards, one was a rumseller, and Booth him-
self was a heavy drinker. The assassin of Gar-
field drank heavily before committing his deed.
The assassin of McKinley was a product of the
saloon. The man who shot Roosevelt was a
"Drinking of alcoholic beverages, if abolished,
would rip the social evil up the back, sever its
spinal cord, and eliminate from the face of the
earth chronic invalidism, deformities, premature
deaths, blindness, feeble-mindedness, and insan-
ity."— Dr. DeWitt G. Wilcox, Boston.
96 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
"To alcohol and tobacco, can be attributed
directly the great moral and physical degeneracy
of the day." — Dr. D. H. Kress, of Chicago, dis-
coverer of the silver nitrate treatment as a cure
for the cigarette habit.
The Physiological Effects. In an article in the
Popular Science Monthly, Dr. George E. Meylan,
of Columbia University, gives the results of
scientific investigations from which we quote the
In from five to ten minutes after beginning to
smoke an ordinary cigar, muscular power began
to diminish, and in an hour, when the cigar was
burned, it had fallen to about twenty-five per cent
of its initial value.
From his observations of 223 college students
he found that students who use tobacco invari-
ably rank lower in scholarship than students who
do not smoke. College students who acquire
the smoking habit before entering college are
about eight months older at entrance than the
All scientists who have studied the physiologi-
cal effects of tobacco upon man and animals
are agreed that it has a depressing influence
upon the heart and circulation ; also, that any-
thing which interferes with the vigor of the cir-
culation has a retarding eflfect upon growth.
All scientists are agreed that the use of tobacco
in the teen age is injurious. Regarding its use
by healthy, mature men, Dr. Meylan says there
is no scientific evidence that it is either beneficial
or injurious. On certain individuals, and on all
who use it excessively, there is much evidence
showing its injurious effects. It has been shown
conclusively, he says, that the use of tobacco by
college students is closely associated with idle-
ness, lack of ambition, lack of appreciation, and
Age when Smokers Acquire the Habit. Of
115 college student smokers investigated by Dr.
George L. Meylan at Columbia University, and
reported in the Popular Science Monthly, Au-
gust, 1910, the ages when they first learned to
smoke were as follows :
Age 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Number 10 2 2 11 11 18 30 23 16 1
Tests made by the writer to determine the
effects of smoking upon blood pressure, showed
that the action of tobacco was to produce a
marked and injurious effect upon the heart and
THE MORAL VALUE OF PLAYGROUNDS
I have a statement from our neighborhood
policeman in which he says our playground has
been as valuable to the city as ten policemen.
The former chief of police said that the play-
ground had materially assisted in controlling the
rougher boys of the community. One of the
boys on the playground said to me, "One thing
you have done, Mr, Bellamy, in opening up this
98 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
playground is to stop the boys shooting craps."
I am confident that in answer to your first ques-
tion, the playground and much of our club and
class work have caused less lying, stealing and
gambling, and, I am sure, fewer arrests, for this
work has been a substitute for the lawlessness of
the street wdiich would have been the life of the
As to the second question, I have a statement
from our chief probation officer that our Hiram
House Camp has been a positive assistance to
him in decreasing juvenile delinquents and in
building up a better standard of life. I am sure
our playground and club work in the House
deserve just as much force of argument as the
George A. Bellamy,
Headworker, The Hiram House,
ROBERTS' TALK ON TRAINING ^
He is a wise young man who daily trains the
powers of his body, mind, and soul, for he will
be healthier, happier, thriftier, wiser, longer-
lived, and, best of all, more spiritual, and so, of
course, of more use to his fellow man.
Every young man should make it the chief
aim of his life to be a "jolly good fellow" in the
Young Men's Christian Association idea of that
term ; then earth will be to him a heaven below.
The ideal Association young man strives to be a
whole, wholesome, wise, thrifty, and spiritual
man, one who is always "on deck" and on his
"tiptoes"' for the right in all his doings — physical,
mental, and spiritual ; one who daily realizes that
a little nonsense now and then is as much a Chris-
tian duty as it is to attend to business in business
hours, or to his mental work at the proper time,
or chop or saw wood, or take a sweating hour's
work every day or so in the gymnasium.
A young man must try and live a balanced
life if he wants to do the most good in this life.
A ball will roll further than an egg because it is
round; so the well-rounded man in body, mind,
and soul work will go further in all his doings
than the man who only develops one or two of
these powers and allows the others to rot away
from want of use. The physical and spiritual
powers are the ones that most men use too little
for their health's sake. Every live young man
must train his mind or in a little while he won't
be worth more than a dollar or two a day and in
his late middle life he won't be worth that. But
he is not obliged to train his body and soul, and
so he often, unwisely, neglects them ; for which
fact, if he lives long enough, he will be very
sorry, when it is too late.
Personally, from over forty-five years of deal-
ing with young men, I have seen and talked with
many who have made the great mistake of devel-
oping their minds at the expense of their bodies
100 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
I want to see Christian young men the ideal
young men, and I would advise them to study
their Bibles to see what fine athletic young men
there were in those far-off days, and how spirit-
ual they were as well as worldly-wise. I am
very sorry to say that too many Christian men
sadly neglect God's best earthly gift to them —
their bodies — and so set bad examples to the
young men who come under their influence.
I wish every person who reads this little talk
would memorize this hint and say it aloud as he
does his morning and evening dumb-bell or free-
hand drill. He-is-a-zy/.f(7-man-who-Jai7y-trains-
Robert J. Roberts,
CITY LIFE AND CHARACTER DEVELOP-
B. Deane Brink
While in this outline, much emphasis has been
placed on country life and its influence on char-
acter, still there is something to be said on the
In the cities we find much that is evil and foul,
yet we find there represented the greatest philan-
thropy, the greatest purity, and examples of the
most aggressive and nol)le courage.
The conscious direction of one's activities
toward a given end is more easily accomplished
in the city because of the agencies by which he
may surround himself ; such as educational insti-
tutions, libraries, churches, and the Young Men's
Christian Association, to say nothing of the mul-
tiplied opportunities for personal contact with
individuals and the mutual benefit derived there-
"He who serves his brother best
Gets nearer God than all the rest."
How to Get Strong and How to Stay So.
Wm. Blaikie $1 . 00
Health, Strength and Power. D. A. Sar-
Strength and Diet. R. Russell 4 . 40
Preventable Diseases. Woods Hutchin-
Food Values. E. A. Locke 1 . 25
Athletic Library : A. G. Spalding.
142 — Physical Training Simplified 25
149— The Care of the Body 10
161 — Ten-Minute Exercises for Busy
185— Health Hints 10
208 — Physical Education and Hygiene . .25
213—285 Health Answers 25
285 — Health — By Muscular Gymnastics . 10
288 — Indigestion Treated by Gymnas-
102 ATHLETES OF THE BIBLE
290— Get Well— Keep Well 25
325 — Twenty Minute Exercises 10
330 — Physical Training for School and
346 — How to Live One Hundred Years . 10
Education by Plays and Games. G. E.
How to Play. A. R. Wells 75
At Home in the Water. G. H. Corsan.
(New and enlarged edition) 1.00
The Use of Life. Sir John Lubbock .80
Making Life Worth While. H. W.
Happiness. Horace Fletcher 1.00
The Second Mile. H. E. Fosdick 40
Reproduction and Sexual Hygiene. W. S.
From Youth Into Manhood. W. S. Hall .50
Sex Education Series :
Life's Beginnings. W. S. Hall 25
Developing Into Manhood. W. S.
Engagement and Marriage. O. G.
Social Evil and Methods of Treatment.
O. G. Cocks 25
Village Life in the Holy Land. John D.
Whiting. (Article in the National Geo-
graphic Magazine, March, 1914.)
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY
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